Over the years I have blogged and commented, I have rarely been shocked beyond belief or words. One instance was when I first learned of the mass forced emigration of British children to Australia, Canada and Africa. Another instance was after I had watched the documentary exposing the ‘care’ at the Winterbourne View ‘home’. Today marks the third instance when I could hardly bear to finish reading the deadly, steady words which described the Litany of Abuse which was handed down from the People in Power who ran (if that could possibly describe the truly disgraceful stories told by the inmates) the Children’s Homes on Jersey. The small island with possibly the greatest amounts of cash and capital within the borders of Europe, the richest place within the entire land mass of Europe (barring Switzerland) and they couldn’t even afford to hire a decent, upstanding person to run the ghettoes which the Homes such as Haut de la Garenne had become.
Chapter 8 The Reporting of Abuse is, to use a phrase I have never had recourse to turn to before; a travail of tortures, large and small; a litany of terror; a single, steady, dark beyond belief, relating of sexual, physical and mental abuse which would not be far removed from the tales of Nazi Concentration Camps, with the possible exception that, in Jersey, the intent was usually sexual gratification; and not death!
The report, to protect the innocent, identifies witnesses by the terminolgy WN212
Extracts from other Chapters include:-
Chief Minister Senator Ian Gorst told us that it was not fair to suggest that financial legislation received greater priority than child care legislation. Others with experience of the political system disagreed. Wendy Kinnard, the former Home Affairs Minister, told us, however, that legislation relating to the finance industry would “definitely” take priority due to the influence of outside agencies such as the IMF. Similarly Deputy Higgins thought that legislation relating to financial regulation was certainly “top of the pile”
Malcolm Doublard [Jersey Home for Boys (1942)]. He was placed at the JHFB in 1942, when his father was taken prisoner by the Germans and his mother could not cope on her own, having been denied “outdoor relief” by the Connétable of St Ouen. He vividly recalls the home being clean, but the food being terrible. He also described the restrictions on the boys’ freedom, as the adjacent field was used by the Germans for gun practice, and the boys could not go out when they were practising. He described severe bullying by older boys. Electrodes were used to administer electric shocks to the younger boys.
The Inquiry heard from former residents and staff members that the institution ran alongside a textile/knitwear factory known as “Summerland”, in which children worked.
WN266. Taken before the Royal Court (apparently by the Centenier) and deemed to be out of control; sent to the JHFB in about 1957. When he was 13 or 14 years old, his mother told him that he would not have been sent to the Home had she agreed to sleep with the Centenier.
WN126. Admitted in 1958 to Jersey Home for Boys, “recommended by Chef de Police because the boy has been stealing”. He spent nearly 10 years in care.
Three of those accused held the post of Superintendent of the Home, namely Colin Tilbrook, WN532 and Jim Thomson. If one includes allegations of physical assault by Mario Lundy while at HDLG, then the Home was run and managed by those accused of abuse for over 20 years of its 27 years of operation.
She told the Inquiry that she spoke to one boy but he told her not to say anything. She said that she told a senior member of staff whose response was that no one would believe her. If she did not shut up then she would be sent to a place where no one would find her. Winifred Lockhart was eventually admitted to St Saviour’s (Mental Institution) following these disclosures.
WN894 also alleged abuse by the brother of one of the nuns. She said that she reported this to the Mother Superior but was punished by being locked in the dormitory. She told the priest in confession and, notwithstanding supposed confidentiality of confession, the following day she had her mouth washed out with soap by the Mother Superior.
WN162 described Colin Tilbrook putting him in a detention room and then sitting on the bed and fondling his genitals. He said that this happened three times between the ages of eight and 10. WN162’s evidence highlights the children’s perception that they had no-one to whom they could disclose abuse when the alleged abuser was the most senior member of staff: “
WN172, a former resident, alleged that in the early 1960s he was repeatedly raped by Senator Krichefski, who visited the Home. When he was 18 he was seen at the Home by Dr Fogarty, consultant psychiatrist, to whom he disclosed the sexual abuse. Dr Fogarty told him not to say any more and went off to get another doctor, Dr Evans. WN172 was sectioned and sent to St Saviour’s psychiatric hospital. At the hospital he was seen by Dr Wishart who, he said, told him that he had been admitted because of his fantasies about Senator Krichefski
In his Redress Scheme Application, WN121 stated that he was physically and sexually abused by Gordon Wateridge. He said that he reported the abuse to Colin Tilbrook who “said to me that I was a fantasist and a child criminal and if I told anyone else they would not believe me. I took a beating and never tried to make a complaint again after that”.
‘ She said that she was disbelieved by the Police and that, following her disclosures and a contemporaneous witness statement, she withdrew her allegations because the Police officers were not supporting her at all, and she was tired – so, in the end, said that she had lied.’